“We unanimously call upon the UPA Government to create a SPI to rid the Ganga of pollution in Varanasi,” said SMF president Veer Bhadra Mishra during the function.
A non-governmental organisation run by the Sankat Mochan Temple’s high priest has been working with Australia-based environmental group, Oz Greene, under a programme called “Swatcha Ganga Abhiyan” for 25 years now. The matter is likely to be taken up by Mishra at a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on the issue of revamping river conservation plans.
“We will take up the issue of a SPI for cleaning the Ganga at Varanasi with the PM at the meeting, which is likely to decide on structural changes in management of river conservation initiatives, with special reference to the Ganga in Varanasi,” Mishra said.
Union Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, who addressed the concluding function, said both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi are very concerned about pollution in the sacred river. “Soniaji particularly wants to actualise an incomplete dream of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and clean up the Ganga,” Fernandes said. “I will take with me any proposals prepared by you for cleaning the sacred river in Kashi to the Centre and I assure you any such proposal will be dealt with urgently by our government.”
Calling late PM Rajiv Gandhi a “second Bhagirath”, Fernandes said, “Every citizen of the temple city should consider it a fervent duty to keep the sacred river clean.”
The event was attended by representatives of international environment groups, like Friends of Ganges and Oz Greene, besides politicians like state Congress President Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Congress Spokesperson Mohan Prakash.